I’d like to introduce you all to Polly, the Polyphemus Moth.
Polly was found outside my workplace in the parking lot, where she was flapping around, barely able to fly. My friend knows all too well about my fascination with insects, so she rescued Polly and brought her to me.
Unfortunately, my friend did not realise that Polly was female, nor that she was incredibly pregnant. She ended up laying 95 eggs inside of her cardboard box.
When I co-oped at a nature centre, I learned how to raise and handle Cecropia and Polyphemus moths. I immediately set to work and built a butterfly house out of an aquarium and some tooling.
Unfortunately, Polly is dying, and perhaps would be dead by now if I hadn’t housed her. Polyphemus moths, like many silk moths, are born without mouth parts or a digestive system, and therefore cannot eat. Their sole purpose after metamorphosis is to mate, and then die about 10 days later.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I suspect that she won’t last the night. Laying eggs coupled with her incredibly short life has brought her near the end.
I think she is an astounding creature. Half of the caterpillars from each laying won’t survive the first two days. Another half of those will die during their lifetime. Then some will die from disease in the cocoon. There are actually a relatively small number of moths that survive their full life cycle. Polly is one of those, and now I will try to make sure as many of the 95 eggs she’s laid will survive too.
So thank you Polly, for being a truly amazing creature.